A two-year partnership supporting the Trussell Trust’s data journey

What we did:

In 2021, Apteligen worked in partnership with three associate consultants to deliver a comprehensive review of the collection, analysis, and use of data by the Trussell Trust and the wider foodbank network. The Apteligen team then worked with the Trust in 2022 and 2023 to implement changes regarding data leadership and governance, the collection of data at the point of issuing a food bank voucher, data literacy and organisational capabilities, and data systems and technical infrastructure.

We led on the redesign of the data collection categories that are used during the voucher issuing process across the food bank network and we supported the Trust and their software development agency through the user testing and implementation stages, as well as the redesign of data reports and graphics. 

We developed a set of guiding data principles, a co-designed data glossary which outlines key data terms, and a suitable structure for a data dictionary which provides important metadata. We also developed prototype storyboards and video guides to demonstrate how important data fields are captured within food banks.

Finally, we designed an internal data literacy e-learning course and associated resources, with modules on accessing and using food bank referral data in line with the data strategy and in pursuit of the organisation’s strategic and operational needs, and on thinking critically when using and sharing data.

How we did it:

We reviewed technical systems, processes and existing data sources, and feedback that the Trust had received in the past from food banks and referral partners. We undertook an extensive review of external data sources and evidence on the drivers of poverty and food bank use to make sure that the data that is collected by referral agencies and food banks is both comparable with and supplements existing evidence and data sources.

In designing the refreshed data collection framework, the data principles, data glossary, and data user guides, we delivered co-design sessions and user research with Trust staff, food bank staff and volunteers, referral partners, and people with lived experience of poverty and food bank use. Throughout the process we worked staff and volunteers from 49 food banks across the UK, 27 referral agencies, and 40 Trussell Trust staff members.

What the project achieved:

The collection of accurate and useable data by food banks through the Trussell Trust’s Data Collection System (DCS) is vital for ensuring that food banks and the Trussell Trust are able to meet operational needs and campaign for changes which would lead to the ending the need for food banks in the UK. 

The refreshed data collection categories have given the Trussell Trust and the wider food bank network a more accurate, detailed and timely understanding of the changes that need to be made to prevent people needing emergency food provision. 

The development of the internal data literacy programme and resources have left staff understanding what data they have access to, how they can describe data insights, and how they can use data to inform their everyday work. 

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